Not guilty pleas in fatal shooting of mom protecting children

-  OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU and wires) -- Six young men pleaded not guilty Monday to murder charges stemming from the fatal shooting in March of a West Oakland mother who was struck by crossfire as she was trying to help two of her children to safety.

   The six defendants are scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Oct. 19 for a pre-trial hearing.

   Chyemil Pierce, 30, who worked as a human resources specialist at Kaiser Permanente, was shot outside her home in the 2800 block of Chestnut Street at about 4:45 p.m. on March 9.

   Charged with murder for her death are Julian Ambrose, 17, who is being prosecuted as an adult, Jerry Harbin, 30, Alex Davis, 25, Shelton McDaniels, 29, Michael Stills, 21, and Anthony Sims, 20.

   In addition, Ambrose and Sims face an attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting at Harbin.

   A seventh defendant, Dijon Ward, 21, who is charged with being an accessory after the fact, also entered a not guilty plea Monday.

   The shooting occurred after two groups of women got into a fight on Chestnut Street and two groups of men came to the scene and became involved in the confrontation.

   Prosecutors allege that Sims, Harbin, McDaniels, Davis and Ambrose all opened fire in the shootout that killed Pierce, who was hit by a bullet in the back of her head. Investigators haven't said who fired the shot that
killed her.

   Stills is not charged with firing a gun during the incident but is accused of being armed with one and prosecutors allege that he's also legally responsible for the killing.

   Ambrose suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the incident and spent more than a month at Highland Hospital in Oakland to get treatment for them. He was arrested when he was released from the hospital on April 14.

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